Culinary Union Asks Nevada Gaming Board to Investigate Station Casinos, Slot Techs Tell Union to Scram

The Culinary Union believes Station Casinos is violating federal labor laws in its consistent opposition to unions. And the powerful trade group says it’s time for the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to act.

Culinary Union Station Casinos Nevada NLRB
Culinary Union Station Casinos Nevada NLRB
Culinary Union members picket outside Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas over what the union claims are unfair labor practices being practiced by the casino’s owner Station Casinos. The union is asking the Nevada Gaming Control Board to probe whether Station Casinos remains suitable to hold a gaming license. (Image: Culinary Union)

The Culinary Union, which is composed of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 and affiliates of UNITE HERE, alleges that Station Casinos has failed to adhere to federal labor law. The organization contends that the Nevada locals-focused casino operator has routinely interfered with unionization efforts at its properties.

The Culinary Union is confident the state’s gaming regulators will want to take action against Station Casinos after they have reviewed the ample documentation and evidence of the company and its affiliates’ disregard of federal law, including the current allegations before the National Labor Relations Board,” said Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Gaming regulators have a duty to make sure license holders, like Station Casinos, are always operating in a way befitting Nevada’s gold standard of gaming industry regulation.”

Culinary claims workers at nine Station Casinos properties in Las Vegas are fighting for a union contract: Boulder Station, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch, Sunset Station, Fiesta Rancho, Fiesta Henderson, Red Rock Resort, Texas Station, and Santa Fe.

Culinary also recently requested that the US Securities and Exchange Commission investigate Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR), Station’s publicly traded unit, for having an all-white, all-male board of directors.

Alleged Interference

Nearly every casino on the Las Vegas Strip has been unionized, the major exception being The Venetian/Palazzo. Station Casinos doesn’t own or operate a Strip casino, but its many properties around Southern Nevada largely remain union-free.

It’s not for lack of trying on the union’s part. Culinary claims that each of the nine aforementioned properties has unsuccessfully voted to unionize. Union reps say Station purposely interfered with those elections, which date back to September of 2016 (Boulder Station) to as most recently as April 2021 (Santa Fe).

Station denies any wrongdoing, saying it has every right to improve pay and benefits for its workers whenever it so chooses. The company has denied doing so ahead of union elections to sway voters.

Numerous ongoing legal challenges between Station Casinos and the Culinary Union persist.

Most notably is a federal injunction filed in the US District Court of Nevada by the NLRB claiming Red Rock Casino Resort, a Station property, obstructed a unionization vote at the casino in 2019. A federal judge has ordered that Station/Red Rock Casino turn over internal communications regarding its decision to increase pay and benefits ahead of the Red Rock union poll.

Red Rock Techs Want Union Out

There’s at least a fraction of Red Rock Casino workers who do not want to be union members. Slot techs at the Summerlin casino recently asked the NLRB for a vote to decertify its representation by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 501.

The nonprofit National Right to Work (NRTW) Legal Defense Foundation is representing the slot techs in the matter. The organization claims it has ample votes to decertify the union membership.

The Culinary Union says it “stands with the IUOE Local 501 and against the efforts of the DC-based National Right to Work Legal Foundation to interfere in Las Vegas labor matters.”

The NRTW is also representing Red Rock Casino employees who claim their vote against the Culinary Union was unimpeded by their employer.

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